Some News items from the last few years, in no particular order
TWO NEW COVERS
These have been designed by my son Martin, and they fit into the design concept that has been established for the whole series. Date: 8th April 2021. They will be used initially for the Kindle editions of the two books.
This is the short "teaser video" produced by Ken Bird for the Angel Mountain project, with much
help from a devoted and skillful small team. Enjoy!
As of 1st April 2021, six of the Bolinda Audiobooks are available from Bolinda, Audible, Amazon and other web sites, and they should also be available via the Welsh library service.
As of 23rd January 2020, fourteen Angel Mountain Newsletters have been distributed via our mailing list. If any reader is not on our list, but would like to join it, please send us a message via our contact page. We will be happy to send you future editions. Another one coming soon......
This is the historic first cover, for the first printing of the novel in 2001. It might now be worth something, as a collector's item.........
ON Angel Mountain -- tenth printing
Having run out of stock of the first novel in the series, I have been working with the printers on a new printing with a slightly different format, making it slimmer and easier to read. Delivery from the printer was on 20th August 2018. On checking through my records since publication in 2001, I have realised that this is the TENTH printing, and that about 36,000 copies have now been sold. I'm rather pleased about that, given that the book -- like the others in the Saga -- has been published on a full commercial risk basis, without any grant aid or other subsidies from Welsh Books Council or Literature Wales.
THE STONEHENGE BLUESTONES
This new book was published on 1st June 2018. I had been working on it in conditions of great secrecy for the previous twelve months, and it replaced "The Bluestone Enigma" which had been through several reprints and was out of print. English Heritage snapped up the last 100 copies of the old title, and has also purchased the new one. In this new book -- considerably expanded -- there are several completely new chapters, and all of the old chapters have been rewritten and brought up to date.
Greencroft Books, 256 pp, 110 illustrations. Full-colour A5 paperback.
Cover price £15.00
One hundred years ago it was discovered that the Stonehenge bluestones had come from a small area in West Wales. Since then, the stones have been at the centre of one of the greatest controversies in prehistory. Geologists and archaeologists have argued about how and when they were moved, and for what purpose. In the discussions, myth-making has unfortunately been a greater priority than sound science. In a dramatic development, following a forensic examination of the evidence from many disciplines, and drawing on exciting new research, earth scientist Brian John now shows that the stones were not quarried or transported by our Neolithic ancestors. Instead, they were carried eastwards by the great Irish Sea Glacier almost half a million years ago, and used where they were found by the builders of Stonehenge. And when the stones ran out, the great building project ground to a halt.......... the great prehistoric icon always was a ruin.
This book is a detective story with a difference. Written in an easy and accessible style, and lavishly illustrated, it will cause a fundamental reassessment of “the science of the stones”, upset many archaeologists, and enhance our sense of wonder about the forces at work in the natural world.
Of interest to a general readership and also to those who study archaeology, landscape, the history of science, geology and cultural heritage.
The author Brian John is an earth scientist who has a special interest in the Ice Age. He has more than 90 books to his name, including the best-selling 8-volume Angel Mountain Saga. He lives in the source area of the bluestones, and has studied it in detail for many years.
Greencroft Books, Trefelin, Cilgwyn, Newport, Pembrokeshire SA42 0QN.
Distribution to the trade: Welsh Books Council, Aberystwyth.
Cover design: Martin John using photography by Brian John
For further information please go to our Media Pack
IN SEARCH OF TWO VOICES
Our search for two actresses to read some extracts from the 8 Angel Mountain books as part of a new project to enhance the "branding" of Angel Mountain and Martha Morgan Country was productive, and we now have several offers on file. However, it now looks as though our negotiations with Calibre Library (used by blind and partially-sighted people) will lead to recordings of all of the books by their appointed readers; and we soon hope to announce a full commercial deal for the 8 books which will bring them into all libraries and onto Audible and other audiobook sites. Watch this space.......
As of 6th February 2019, twelve Angel Mountain Newsletters have been distributed via our mailing list. If any reader is not on our list, but would like to join it, please send us a message via our contact page. We will be happy to send you future editions. Another one coming soon......
Brian gave two sessions at the Llangwm Book Festival in August 2017-- that's appropriate, since he played rugby for Llangwm in the good old days, and since his father's side of the family came from the territory thereabouts. One of the sessions was about writing, and was called "Adventures with a young mistress". The other was a workshop called "How to get published." Both very enjoyable!
Coast path guide: new edition
The eighth revision of the ever-popular Coast Path Guide is now available -- with text and maps brought up to date. Since it first appeared in 1990, it's been through many reprints, and is selling as well as ever.
PEMBROKESHIRE ONLINE VIDEO
It was fun to do a video interview with Ken and Suzanne from Pembrokeshire Life Online, and to feature in an article on their web site.
Sadly, the website has now been discontinued, and the video has disappeared. Suzanne is building a new website of local interest, and we will give information about it in due course.
Regular and irregular visitors to this site may be pleased to know that we have now introduced a shopping facility so that all of my titles can be bought online, using Paypal. Just click on the Bookshop link above.
Brian's books are now featuring in a new "literary tourism" initiative, called "Martha Morgan Country" and designed to pull new visitors into the region covered in the tales of the Angel Mountain Saga.
The launch was in the Boat Club, Parrog, Newport, on Sunday afternoon 3rd April, 2016. At the launch Mistress Martha (played by Rhiannon James, dressed very appropriately) was present to share afternoon tea and griddle cakes with the guests. The guests were welcomed by Cllr Keith Lewis (for RNP), Mayor Andy Benham, and Cllr Paul Harries. There was a short reading from "Dark Angel" by Lis Evans, and Steve Mallett presented his portfolio of photos of Rhiannon -- in appropriate Regency costumes -- taken in many of the key locations from the stories. We also launched the new web site which uses many of the commissioned photos.
The new web site is here:
There is also a new leaflet about Martha Morgan Country which is currently being distributed across West Wales.
To purchase any -- or all -- of the books of the Angel Mountain Saga, just click on this button and you will be transferred to the appropriate page:
A new novel set in Greenland during the Cold War
A conspiracy / action thriller set in East Greenland during the Cold War. The members of a scientific expedition become the unwitting guinea pigs in a series of grotesque experiments in an arctic wilderness. As the death toll mounts, they uncover a huge conspiracy and realise that an implacable enemy with limitless resources will not allow any of them to survive.
Please note that the Ebook version of this novel has now been re-titled "Icefall Zero." That's because there were too many books with the title "Acts of God" !!
The Kindle edition of the new novel is now available. Orders can be placed on any of the Amazon web sites for the E-book version. Order now while stocks last!!
For signed copies of the paperback edition, just enter the quantity you need in the box below and then click the button.
Brian (centre) and colleagues Sandy Hall and Geoff Arnold resting on the Roslin Glacier during their 100-mile trek in East Greenland in 1962
With Sandy Hall and David Sugden on Oxford Gletscher in 1962
NEW SAGA LOGO
For some time we have been playing with the idea of a new logo for the 8-volume Angel Mountain Saga, and at long last we have got round to it. After bouncing around quite a few ideas, Martin came up with the concept for this one, and we employed a professional logo designer to finish the job off. We think it looks great!! 8th April 2021.
first bolinda audiobook
The first of the Bolinda audiobooks has now been published, and is available from the company web site , from Audible, Amazon and Google Play. The narrators are Malk Williams and Janine Cooper Marshall -- and they are great! The recordings are in progress, and the other seven titles will be published at approx two-monthly intervals over the next 12 months.
It's great to be reaching a completely new constituency with the narrative of Martha and her mountain (and her angels) -- and it gives us a global reach, since Bolinda sells its audiobooks all over the world.
THE ANGEL MOUNTAIN SHOW
On 21st April I entered the modern world by producing a Facebook live video, the first of a series. This was by way of introduction -- rather amateurish, I suppose, but we live and learn. Apparently live video streams are all the rage just now, with the technology becoming more and more accessible. Viewers apparently like the spontaneity of these live videos -- with stumbles, pauses, poor phrasing and repetition all becoming essential features of the authentic experience! We'll see how it all works out. Let's set a target -- a mailing list with 500 names on it..........
Here is a link to the first live video of the series:
As of 6th May, there are seven live videos; the links are all here:
THE ANGEL MOUNTAIN SHOW
SERIES ONE, April 2020
No 1: Preamble
No 2: A funny thing happened…….
No 3: Martha’s Magic
No 4: Martha and the Angels
No 5: Heroes and Villains
No 6: Eccentrics rule, OK?
No 7: A Very Imperfect Heroine
rEBRAND FOR GREENLAND THRILLER
The title "Acts of God" was, in retrospect, not a very good one for a Cold War thriller -- since some people apparently thought it was some sort of theological treatise. It was, as readers will know, anything but! So we have given it a rebrand, and the Ebook or Kindle version is now called "Icefall Zero" with a new jacket to match. The paperback edition is still in print with the original title.
NEW JACKET FOR "FLYING WITH ANGELS" (Now replaced)
HOUSE of angels -- fifth printing
Having run out of stock of "House of Angels" some time ago. I have been redistributing copies from place to place, just to ensure that shops have at least one or two copies to sell. However, we have done a rebrand, and the printing of the new edition is under way as we speak. My son Martin has done a wonderful new cover, based on one of Steve Mallett's moving portraits of Mistress Martha (played by Rhiannon James) in assorted locations. here's hoping that the shops and the buying public will like it!
This only the second book in the series to have a close-up portrait on it -- the other was the rather scary face of the assassin in "Sacrifice". This one is altogether more attractive -- and enigmatic. What's going on here? Get the book, open up, and find out........
Soaking up the atmosphere of Bath during research for the books of the Angel Mountain series. Deep thoughts in the presence of wise men? Actually, I think I was thinking that the warm water did not look particularly clean and inviting.......
Brian during his talk about Greenland -- at the book launch on 9th November 2014
With illustrator Boz Groden following the launch of the prize-winning children's book called "The Strange Affair of the Ethiopian Treasure Chest."
Brian and two happy customers during one of his book signing sessions
The telling of Horrible Histories in Newport Library, August 2017
The great majority of illustrations used on this site are my own. Some of the photos of Rhiannon James were taken by photographer Steve Mallett as part of our "Martha Morgan Country" project. Some photos have come from my own photo library, and I believe most of them to be freely available for use under a creative commons license -- covering fair use for non-commercial purposes. However, if any photo copyright holder is unhappy with my use of a photograph, and wants it to be fully acknowledged or removed from the site, please get in touch and I will be happy to oblige.
Where did I come from?
Part of me came from South Africa (where my mother was born) and part from West Wales (where my father was born and lived all his life). We haven't managed to piece together the family history of the John family in any great detail -- but ironically we know quite a bt about the "South African Connection". The story is told on a dedicated web site, which can be accessed here: